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East Express | August 6, 2020

Thank you to all those who voted in the Aug. 4 primary election! East Grand Rapids had a voter turnout of 46%. Results are available on our website

A special thank you to all of our precinct workers and absentee ballot counting board members who helped ensure the election was administered properly and safely: Ruth Bajema, Kathy Benoit, Angie Berg, Ann Berman, Abby Berman, Jean Boebel, Suzy Bonnah, Moira Colvin, Kim Conover-Loar, Amy Conway, Karen Cornelius, Diane Demarest, Gaylen Demarest, Catherine Frerichs, Ed Gray, Joanne Heidenreich, Mary Herndon, Melinda Hoff, Cindy Humphries, Jo Kendall, Janet Koopman, Catherine Kriegbaum, Diane Lange, Steve Loar, Melissa Marsh, Alek Mizikar, George Pawlowski, Teresa Potts, Diane Ritzke, Deb Roper, Nancy Steinbrecher, Marilyn Strickland, Vicki Whalen, Brad White, Pat Wilson and Maria Young. And another thank you to our front office staff members Chris Berg, Karen Brower, Robin Christoffersen and Jane Gray for all their work leading up to the election and on election day.

Don’t forget, the Presidential election is just around the corner. Visit to learn about your precinct, AV ballots and more.  

Summer Property Taxes Reminder

Summer property tax bills were billed on July 1 and are due Aug. 14. Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, for your safety and the safety of our employees, we encourage residents to pay property taxes in one of the following ways:
  • Dropbox: The City has a drop box located in the Community Center vestibule at 750 Lakeside Drive that is available 24 hours a day.
  • Online: Online payments using a savings or checking account (EFT) will be free for the 2020 property tax cycle. Credit and debit card payments may be made online but will still have a 2.75% convenience fee added at the time of the transaction.
  • Mail: Payments must be received on or before the due date. Postmarks are not accepted. If you desire a receipt, send a self-addressed stamped envelope along with both portions of the tax bill or supply an email address on the tax bill stub for an electronic receipt.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope you are enjoying a wonderful summer under our current circumstances. Any of us longing for the “old normal” can certainly take solace in the traditionally hot and humid days we have had recently! As summer begins to wane, thoughts of fall and back-to-school start to fill the minds of many of our residents. For those with school-aged children, this school year will look differently from what we are used to.

I want to personally thank all of the EGRPS school leaders, administrators and staff for the tremendous work they have put into the Return to Learning plan. They have worked tirelessly to navigate these uncharted waters and to come up with a safe plan that addresses the various educational needs of our families. Thank you for your dedication, hard work and thoughtfulness when considering the best options for our community and our children. As many families in our community consider the options available to them in the Return to Learning plan, I ask that we all show understanding and respect as each family makes the decision that is best for them. This is the time to unite as a community and support one another as we all face these new and challenging decisions.

If you are able, please consider a donation to the One East fund, created by the EGR Schools Foundation. As many of you are aware, our schools face a tremendous deficit and One East is working hard to help to fill that gap — donations will be accepted until Aug. 7.

On a different note, I want to express my thanks to everyone that participated in the second EGR Community Blood Drive on July 30. We had a great turn out and the donations in total will save over 100 lives. Both Versiti and myself are very grateful for all the support from our community, so thank you to all who donated. Another special thank you to City staff for helping coordinate and set up the event.

Please mark your calendar for a “Socially Distanced EGR Talk” on Sept. 15 at 5:30 p.m. The location or Zoom link will be announced in the first September e-newsletter so please stay tuned. I continue to hold my virtual office hours and am also happy to meet for coffee to chat and discuss any concerns/questions you may have. Please feel free to reach out and we can schedule an appointment. I look forward to meeting you!

Stay healthy and enjoy the rest of your summer!

All the best,


Public Safety recently held its second Community Engagement Session. Chief Mark Herald led the discussion by highlighting EGR's unique cross-training as both police officers and firefighters, the department's policies and our national standard on response to resistance. Our officers and participants also discussed race and law enforcement, voicing questions and concerns from various perspectives.

"This is not an easy topic and we're not going to solve these issues overnight," said Chief Herald. "But discussions like these are important steps forward to finding solutions and understanding one another. It's crucial we get to know each other and build trust."

Thank you to all those who attended the session and contributed to this ongoing conversation. Barring any potential COVID-19-related complications, we look forward to seeing you at our next session on Oct. 15.  

Due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and its timeline and restrictions on large group gatherings, the Parks & Recreation Department has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Rhoades McKee Reeds Lake Triathlon. Save the date for next year’s race: Sept. 11, 2021.

Please visit for additional information.  

Fall Program Guide

Searching for ways to stay active? Flip through our virtual Fall Program Guide! Due to COVID-19, this season’s offerings are primarily listed online. Please note:
  • The fall program guide will NOT be sent by mail this season.
  • All programming will adhere to CDC, State and local guidelines. Visit our website to view our health and safety protocols.
  • We will update our virtual guide on a weekly basis to provide you the most current information.
  • You will continue to register for classes via Rec 1. We also welcome phone enrollments as well as in-person registration at 750 Lakeside Dr.
  • Back-to-school details, including sports leagues, are pending. We will update you as we learn more from Gov. Whitmer and EGRPS. 
There are still four more events this season! Join us in John Collins Park on upcoming Mondays and Fridays. For a list of COVID-19 safety measures and protocols as well as park rules, please visit Concerts and Movies in the Park are brought to you by The Brouwers Agency, Auto-Owners Insurance and Consumers Credit Union.

Aug. 14 — Dolittle (2020)
Aug. 21 — The Secret Life of Pets 2

Aug. 10 — Full Cord Bluegrass
Aug. 17 — Keys to the Kool

Looking for information on EGR construction projects? Visit our construction webpage for weekly updates.  


Thank you to all those who participated in our first public workshop on July 27. This was the first of three sessions of which the City, in collaboration with Progressive AE, will seek community conversation and input. At this meeting, we asked how people get around EGR, what concerns they might have and where new or improved pedestrian and bike facilities are needed. A large map at John Collins Park was filled with comments.

Join us on Tuesday, Aug. 25 from 5 to 7 p.m. in John Collins Park where we will focus on setting a vision, creating goals and prioritizing routes. There will be three stations where you will be asked to:
  • Review proposed vision and goals, confirm if you agree, and identify what is missing
  • Verify proposed street types and identify priority bicycle and pedestrian routes
  • Interact with different bicycle facility types that may be implemented in the future
You can also lend your voice to the conversation by completing our SECOND survey. We look forward to seeing you there!  

Interested in having a new tree planted in the out-lawn area in front of your home? Split the cost 50/50 with the City! The estimated total cost of a tree is between $350-$450 which includes a two-inch diameter tree between 12-14 feet tall, planting, mulching and a two-year warranty.

Interested residents should complete an order form and send it to or drop it off at the City Forester at City Hall (750 Lakeside Drive SE) by Oct. 1. Planting occurs in the fall, between October and December, depending on the weather.

Questions related to the tree planting program can be directed to Mike Ferris at 616.940.4817 or To learn more about the City’s tree planting program, please visit our Forestry webpage.  

You can help protect public health, the environment and our water quality by putting used cleaning wipes, pads, swabs or anything else besides human waste and toilet paper in the trash and not in the toilet.

Did you know that flushing baby wipes, disinfecting wipes, disposable mop refills, toss-in toilet bowl wands, dental floss and even paper towel can cause problems in the City’s sewer system? Many of these products are labeled as disposable/flushable, but they can clog the sewer system, causing costly clean-up. They don’t dissolve or break down after being flushed and can cause backups for you or your neighbors. Other products from mail order meal delivery services/products advise that contents of freezer pouches are safe to dispose of down drains. These pouches can contain chemicals that can damage plumbing and release chemicals in the sanitary sewer system that is a concern to the treatment process and environment.

Take a look at the following video for more information.

Because of COVID-19, our schools are facing an extraordinary budget crisis. More than 60% of school funding comes from state sales and income taxes, not our local property taxes. Projections show reduced state revenue because of COVID-19 may create school finance shortfalls of $944 per student — more than double those during the recession of 2008-2009.

The East Grand Rapids Schools Foundation is organizing One East, a community-wide, coordinated fundraising effort so every dollar raised by school entities this summer supports programs in our district that are in danger of being cut. One East is bringing together organizations, students and families at all our schools to protect the East Grand Rapids Public Schools’ Tradition of Excellence.

You can make a donation right now — visit the Foundation’s website at

Visit to read the district’s Return to Learning Plans

The library has officially reopened! You can learn more about its safety protocols, offerings and modified hours by visiting Don’t forget to follow our KDL EGR Branch on Facebook for regular updates. 

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